ERIC Number: EJ706683
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep-1
Reference Count: 20
Examining the Relationship between Worry and Trait Anxiety
Kelly, William E.
College Student Journal, v38 n3 p370 Sep 2004
It is commonly assumed that worry and anxiety are synonymous. However, there is growing evidence that anxiety and worry are separate, yet related, constructs (i.e., Davey, Hampton, Farrell, & Davidson, 1992; Davey, 1993; Gana, Martin, & Canouet, 2001 ). Worry, is generally defined as a stream of negative thoughts (Kelly & Miller, 1999). Anxiety, however, tends to include somatic tension, fear, and a subjective sense of unease (Barlow, 2002). One of the most common methods of operationally defining anxiety, is the construct of trait anxiety, as measured by the trait form of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970). Research has found a consistent, robust relationship between the STAI and worry. For instance, across six articles identified for the present study (Constans, 2001; Davey, 1993; Davey, 1994; Davey et al., 1992; Russell & Davey, 1993; Wells, 1994), 11 correlations between trait anxiety and various measures of worry were reported ranging from .48 to .74, with an average of .61. The purpose of this study was to explore: (1) Whether there is a worry component measured by the STAI; and (2) which components of the STAI most influence the relationship between trait anxiety and worry. After obtaining informed consent, 218 (151 female) university students enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses at a small public university in the southern U.S. were administered scales measuring trait anxiety and worry. As a measure of trait anxiety, the trait form of Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Form X-2 (STAI; Spielberger et al., 1970) was utilized. The STAI is a twenty-item self-report instrument designed to assess trait anxiety. Participants indicated their agreement with each item on a Likert scale ranging from 1 = "not at all" to 4 = "very much so." Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ). Worry was assessed using the 16-item Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ; Meyer, Miller, Metzger, & Borkovec, 1990). The results of this study indicate that the STAI appears to include a factor representing worry. Also, this factor appears to best account for the relationship between trait anxiety and another measure of worry. The STAI worry factor was the strongest predictor of PSWQ scores. Several conclusions can be drawn from these results, and the influences of other variables, perhaps negative affect and low problem-solving confidence, need to be examined in the worry/trait anxiety relationship.
Descriptors: Fatigue (Biology), Anxiety, College Students, Psychological Patterns, Negative Attitudes, Likert Scales, Affective Behavior, Predictor Variables
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A